The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and RSA Insurance Group have today launched the ground-breaking Fall Fighter initiative with the aim of tackling the UK’s biggest forgotten killer – falls in the home.
Falls are the single biggest cause of accidental injuries in the home and the largest cause of death among over-65s in the UK. Every year more than a third of people over the age of 65 (and half of those over 80) have a fall that requires hospital treatment, costing the NHS and wider healthcare system more than £2.3billion every year. As well as having a huge impact on society at large, falls can also have a devastating effect on individual lives from physical injuries, long-term health effects and disabilities to trauma and poor mental health, loss of mobility, loneliness, social isolation and loss of independence.
Despite this, making simple and low-cost changes can prevent falls from happening. The new Fall Fighter movement is designed to educate and empower people of all ages, transforming each of them into a “Fall Fighter” who can then help family, friends and others in their communities.
RoSPA and RSA will be providing short free awareness sessions and resources to give every Fall Fighter information and advice on how to reduce falls. This could include, for instance, discussing what medication your friend, relative or loved one is currently prescribed and whether it needs to be reviewed, finding out whether they need an eye test, doing a home safety check and looking at what cheap and straightforward changes around the house could improve safety.
The resources will also contain guidance on what to do if someone has a fall – both in the short and longer-term, plus a digital toolkit to help each Fall Fighter inspire others. RoSPA’s Relationships Director, Becky Hickman, said: “It takes just 20 minutes to become a Fall Fighter, but by doing so you have the power to change, and even save the lives of loved ones, friends and family. This simple but hugely effective project is free and open to all and we would encourage individuals or organisations to get involved. This Fall Fighter community will now build, and in doing so, inspire others to prevent thousands of falls every year. By joining together, we can be a powerful and positive force for good.”